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Hausa

b2ap3_thumbnail_Blog_31.jpgWhat is the Hausa language?

Native speakers of Hausa, the Hausa people are mostly to be found in Niger in the north of Nigeria and Chad, but the language is used as a trade language across a much larger area of West Africa (Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire etc.), Central Africa (Chad, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea) and north western Sudan, particularly amongst Muslims. Hausa is one of Africa’s major languages – standing fifth after Arabic, French, English, Portuguese and Swahili.

Current Status

Hausa is spoken by an estimated 40 million first language speakers and an additional 25 million second language speakers. It is the lingua franca for Muslim populations in much of West Africa. Every city of any size in West Africa has a large Hausa community. Hausa is used in commerce, government and the media. While higher education in northern Nigeria tends to be in English, Hausa serves as the language of instruction in primary schools. There are several Hausa language newspapers and a growing body of literature. Radio stations like BBC, Radio France Internationale, China Radio International, Voice of Russia, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and IRIB broadcast in Hausa. It is also taught at universities in Africa and around the world.

Opportunities

This popular language is heard on Nigerian radio and TV and is the most widely used in the fields of education and commerce, and lays claim to a significant body of Hausa language literature. Given its influence and power, including Hausa in your range of translations would only add to your business and investment.

INTERESTING NOTE: Hausa was initially written using script known as ajami, which utilises a modified Arabic alphabet. Because of British colonial influence, in the early 20th century, an alternate script based on the Latin language alphabet was also developed known as “boko” (from the English word for book). The boko alphabet is primarily used in formal education, although the Arabic-based ajami script is still in limited use.

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